The Daily Mail reports Obama did not take his preparation for the debate seriously, and thought he had won as he stepped off the stage last week.
The paper cites an anonymous Democrat close to the Obama campaign.
The Democrat said that Obama's inner circle was dismayed at the 'disaster' that the first presidential debate had turned out to be and believed that the central problem was that the President was so disdainful of Romney that he didn't believe he needed to engage with him.
'President Obama made it clear he wanted to be doing anything else - anything - but debate prep,' the Democrat said. 'He kept breaking off whenever he got the opportunity and never really focused on the event.
'He went into the debate armed with a number of one-liners to throw at Romney, including at least two about Romney not caring about 47 per cent of the country. But he decided not to use them.'
The Democrat, who is aligned with the Obama campaign and has been an unofficial adviser on occasions, said that David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, was stunned that the President left the stage feeling that he had won the debate.